NSW Police will allege the driver who caused the multi-vehicle crash on the Sydney Harbour Bridge during Monday’s wet commute had stolen the vehicle moments before he sped across the iconic landmark.
The driver of the Toyota Kluger that crashed into oncoming traffic on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, causing a huge fireball and traffic in the city to come to a standstill, is believed to have stolen the vehicle from the city earlier in the morning.
Horrific dash camera footage showed the black Kluger in the north-bound lane allegedly speeding past as it attempted to swerve around a car before crashing into a HiAce van and a Honda CRV just after 7am on Monday.
The force of the crash ignited the Kluger seconds later before the whole vehicle was engulfed in flames.
Black acrid smoke billowed into the sky as other motorists rushed out of their cars to pull the man and those injured in the crash to safety.
The driver is under police guard in Royal North Shore Hospital where he is receiving “medical treatment” for serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Superintendent Rohan Cramsie said police will allege the driver of the Kluger stole the vehicle at the corner of Sussex St and Goulburn St in the CBD.
While it was still early in the investigation, he believes it was taken in a “scuffle” shortly before the crash.
“It does appear to us, the owner of the vehicle was changing his tyre,” Superintendent Cramsie said in a press conference on Monday afternoon.
“We will allege at this stage he was approached by the male who had a conversation with him about his car.
“There was a short scuffle which ensued and the male who asked about the Kluger got into the Kluger and headed into the Harbour Bridge.”
Police are waiting for the driver to be medically cleared before they can question him.
Authorities do not know the identity of the man.
The driver of the van and the Honda were also taken to hospital for treatment on non-life-threatening injuries.
Superintendent Cramsie praised the efforts from “brave” bystanders who jumped out of their cars to assist those injured in the crash he described as “extremely confronting”.
He said the motorists involved in the crash were “extremely lucky” to get away with their lives as it was a “very serious” crash.
The Harbour Bridge was closed for three hours as emergency crews worked on the injured and firefighters put out the blaze.
Crews assessed the road on the iconic landmark to ensure it was safe before it was reopened shortly after 10am.
NSW Police are calling for anyone with information on the suspected theft of the vehicle or the collision, including dash cam footage, to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.